Proteas' five costly fielding bloopers
South Africa have had no luck in World Cup semifinals. The rain rule cruelled them in 1992; a tie knocked them out in 1999 while a spectacular batting capitulation ended their run in 2007.
On Tuesday night it was their fielding that cost them dearly. Their ground fielding was superb, saving boundaries and limiting potential two runs to singles, but when it came to hitting the stumps and taking clutch catches, the South Africans were found wanting.
Here are the five fielding blunders that made the Proteas wilt in Auckland.
THE COLLISION THAT SAVED ELLIOTT
New Zealand hero Grant Elliott, who was born and raised on the high veldt in South Africa, led the home side to victory with an unbeaten 84 including the winning six with just a ball remaining. He should not have been there. On the final ball of the penultimate over, Elliott skied a pull shot off fast bowler Morne Morkel towards deep backward square leg. Two South African fielders, JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien, converged for the catch. Replacement fielder Behardien was under the ball but, with Duminy distracting him as he rushed in from fine leg, dropped the chance with neither man apparently calling for the ball. And rather than grasping it, the pair collided with each other and Elliott, who was on 75 at that time, kept his wicket and picked up two crucial runs.
DE VILLIERS'S FUMBLE-ATHON
Yes. No. Wait. Doh! Elliott's match-winning partnership with all-rounder Corey Anderson should have ended in its infancy. With New Zealand still needing 94 runs to win from less than 12 overs, Elliott sent his partner back when a quick single was called. Anderson was hopelessly short of his ground and all AB de Villiers needed to do was to collect the return and break the stumps. The South African skipper fumbled the throw, broke the stumps with his hand and not the ball and then added to the calamity by rolling forward into the wickets. It was as ungainly as it was unsuccessful.
After dismissing the dangerous Luke Ronchi in the 41st over, South Africa needed the wicket of the established Elliott to take control. Two balls after Ronchi holed out, they had their chance. Elliott attempted a suicidal second run on the return throw from the boundary by Rilee Rossouw, but wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock missed the ball and Elliott arrived safely at the crease.
DE VILLIERS MISSES AGAIN
The pressure was on in the 41st over and New Zealand batsman Daniel Vettori was keen to sneak a single. On the final ball of the over he backed up too far at the non-strikers' end but the throw from de Villiers missed the stumps. Vettori went on to hit a crucial boundary in the final over.
MISS AND RUN
De Kock had an unhappy night. In the pressure-filled final over, the New Zealand batsmen were running for everything, including when they missed the ball. Twice they snuck through for a bye when de Kock missed the stumps. On the second occasion not only did de Kock miss, but the bowler Dale Steyn did the same with his throw at the non-strikers end. The mistake brought Elliott on strike who hit the match winning six on the following ball.